I hope this isn't a repost. ============================================ Earth 'to get second sun' as supernova turns night into day
The Earth could soon have a second sun, at least for a week or two. The cosmic phenomenon will happen when one of the brightest stars in the night sky explodes into a supernova. And, according to a report yesterday, the most stunning light show in the planet’s history could happen as soon as this year.
Earth will undoubtedly have a front row seat when the dying red supergiant star Betelgeuse finally blows itself into oblivion. The explosion will be so bright that even though the star in the Orion constellation is 640 light-years away, it will still turn night into day and appear like there are two suns in the sky for a few weeks. The only real debate is over exactly when it will happen. In stellar terms, Betelgeuse is predicted to crash and burn in the very near future. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy sunglasses. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, claimed yesterday that the galactic blast could happen before 2012 – or any time over the next million years.
‘This old star is running out of fuel in its centre,’ Dr Carter told te Austalian website news.com.au. ‘This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly. ‘This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all,’ he added.